Saturday, September 10, 2016

NYC Ramen Tour

Three days in New York City and I managed to squeeze in six ramen shops. A little bit crazy but so much fun. I'm sure all the walking made up for the insane amount of carbs and sodium I consumed (at least that's what I tell myself!). Here's a rundown of the six ramen shops my friend and I visited, including what we ordered + my thoughts on each (all prices in USD):

AKAMARU MODERN ($14 + $2 for soft-boiled seasoned egg)
The original silky "Tonkotsu" (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil.

A classic shoyu-broth featuring bonito fish dashi, with an incredible depth of flavor and richness. Topped with pork belly chashu, scallions, nori seaweed, seasoned egg, menma, and naruto.

- FridayWe arrived approximately five minutes before Ippudo's lunch service at 11AM. There were about five people, altogether two parties, already waiting at the door.
- Chefs and cooks in the open kitchen were all of Mexican descent and Spanish music was playing in the background. I felt like I was eating in Mexico.
- The best thing at Ippudo that day was the Ichiraku Ramen broth. The addition of bonito fish dashi to the classic Shoyu was exceptional. I hardly have fish broth based ramen so this was very memorable and a welcoming change.
- Other than the Ichiraku broth, everything else was pretty average. From the skimpy, thinly sliced chasu, the mediocre tonkotsu, to the thin and "doughy" noodles, I was pretty disappointed with this Ippudo visit overall (the seasoned egg was alright). I remembered it being a lot better a couple of years ago.
- We were not even close to feeling full after Ippudo. I guess this was a blessing in disguise since we had other ramen joints planned that day.

65 Fourth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-388-0088

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bar Reyna

Serving Middle Eastern and Spanish-inspired fare, Bar Reyna is the newest restaurant on the stylish Yorkville strip. The two-story Victorian house - completed with a gorgeous enclosed back patio - is an elegant and cozy location. Chic, yet not pretentious in the least, Bar Reyna (Instagram: @barreynato, Facebook: Bar Reyna) is an excellent spot for date night, or cocktails and snacks with friends.

The glamorous cocktail bar is the focal point on the first floor at Bar Reyna.

The window faces Bar Reyna's front patio on Cumberland Street.

The second floor is the main dining room. Everybody, myself included, took advantage of the few remaining days left of summer and opted for the patio instead. I'll check out the second floor next time I'm at Bar Reyna.

Bar Reyna exudes a rustic, sophisticated charm.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Angelo's Coal Fired Pizza

This was my first coal-fired pizza experience and it certainly won't be my last.

Angelo's Coal Fired Pizza, situated at 106 Front St. E. across from the St. Lawrence Market, opened its doors on July 18th. Originated in Boston, Massachusetts, this spot is Angelo's second location, and is Ontario's first coal-fired pizza restaurant. Angelo's pride and joy is their coal-fired oven, which takes up 32 sq. ft. of cooking space and weighs approximately 10,000 lbs. Co-owner Joe Rizzo told me the oven arrived from California on a flatbed truck and was installed at the restaurant by forklift. 

Co-owner Joe Rizzo

The pizzeria is very roomy at 5,000 sq. ft. and can accommodate up to 124 guests including the bar. There's also a patio out front that seats 32 people. I like the Edison light bulbs, the black herringbone patterned floor tiles, as well as the exposed brick wall, but why do they have to ruin it all with TVs? The space is casual and tastefully decorated, yet the flatscreens scream "sports bar". I'm not a fan.

Angelo's offers 50+ wines from regions of Italy​,​ California​,​ Australia​,​ New Zealand​,​ ​Chil​e ​and France​.​

This mighty TerraLuxe coal-fired oven can reach up to 900 degrees and above, and uses 150 lbs. of the highly efficient, anthracite coal a day.